Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper on Thursday called marijuana grown with unapproved pesticides a threat to public safety and ordered it removed from commerce and destroyed.
In an executive order, Hickenlooper said state agencies should consider any off-label use of a pesticide “a threat to public safety,” and should be quarantined and destroyed.
Hickenlooper’s order is more severe than quarantines and recalls of pesticide-contaminated cannabis previously mandated by Denver health officials, which allowed marijuana products back into circulation once tests confirmed pesticide residues were beneath limits allowed on other consumable crops. Hickenlooper’s order seems to proscribe even traces of pesticides.
Companies are supposed to voluntarily destroy tainted cannabis. If they don’t, the state will destroy it, according to a policy statement issued by the Colorado Departments of Agriculture, Public Health, and Revenue.
Because marijuana is still illegal under federal law, and federal agencies determine what pesticides can be used on crops, there are no guidelines on pesticide use on cannabis, and no studies have been conducted on how pesticides used on marijuana could affect consumers.
Colorado is trying to create rules that would outline which pesticides can be used on marijuana. Pesticides allowed in tobacco cultivation also would be approved.